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What Determines Social Behavior? Investigating the Role of Emotions, Self-Centered Motives, and Social Norms

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889199648 Year: Pages: 403 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-964-8 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Science (General) --- Neurology
Added to DOAB on : 2016-01-19 14:05:46
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Abstract

Human behavior and decision making is subject to social and motivational influences such as emotions, norms and self/other regarding preferences. The identification of the neural and psychological mechanisms underlying these factors is a central issue in psychology, behavioral economics and social neuroscience, with important clinical, social, and even political implications. However, despite a continuously growing interest from the scientific community, the processes underlying these factors, as well as their ontogenetic and phylogenetic development, have so far remained elusive. In this Research Topic we collect articles that provide challenging insights and stimulate a fruitful controversy on the question of “what determines social behavior”. Indeed, over the last decades, research has shown that introducing a social context to otherwise abstract tasks has diverse effects on social behavior. On the one hand, it may induce individuals to act irrationally, for instance to refuse money, but on the other hand it improves individuals’ reasoning, in that formerly difficult abstract problems can be easily solved. These lines of research led to distinct (although not necessarily mutually exclusive) models for socially-driven behavioral changes. For instance, a popular theoretical framework interprets human behavior as a result of a conflict between cognition and emotion, with the cognitive system promoting self-interested choices, and the emotional system (triggered by the social context) operating against them. Other theories favor social norms and deontic heuristics in biasing human reasoning and encouraging choices that are sometimes in conflict with one’s interest. Few studies attempted to disentangle between these (as well as other) models. As a consequence, although insightful results arise from specific domains/tasks, a comprehensive theoretical framework is still missing. Furthermore, studies employing neuroimaging techniques have begun to shed some light on the neural substrates involved in social behavior, implicating consistently (although not exclusively) portions of the limbic system, the insular and the prefrontal cortex. In this context, a challenge for present research lies not only in further mapping the brain structures implicated in social behavior, or in describing in detail the functional interaction between these structures, but in showing how the implicated networks relate to different theoretical models. This is Research Topic hosted by members of the Swiss National Center of Competence in Research “Affective Sciences – Emotions in Individual Behaviour and Social Processes”. We collected contributions from the international community which extended the current knowledge about the psychological and neural structures underlying social behavior and decision making. In particular, we encouraged submissions from investigators arising from different domains (psychology, behavioral economics, affective sciences, etc.) implementing different techniques (behavior, electrophysiology, neuroimaging, brain stimulations) on different populations (neurotypical adults, children, brain damaged or psychiatric patients, etc.). Animal studies are also included, as the data reported are of high comparative value. Finally, we also welcomed submissions of meta-analytical articles, mini-reviews and perspective papers which offer provocative and insightful interpretations of the recent literature in the field.

Neural Circuitry of Behavioral Flexibility: Dopamine and Related Systems

Authors: ---
Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889197958 Year: Pages: 165 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-795-8 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Neurology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2016-04-07 11:22:02
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Decades of research have identified a role for dopamine neurotransmission in prefrontal cortical function and flexible cognition. Abnormal dopamine neurotransmission underlies many cases of cognitive dysfunction. New techniques using optogenetics have allowed for ever more precise functional segregation of areas within the prefrontal cortex, which underlie separate cognitive functions. Learning theory predictions have provided a very useful framework for interpreting the neural activity of dopamine neurons, yet even dopamine neurons present a range of responses, from salience to prediction error signaling. The functions of areas like the Lateral Habenula have been recently described, and its role, presumed to be substantial, is largely unknown. Many other neural systems interact with the dopamine system, like cortical GABAergic interneurons, making it critical to understand those systems and their interactions with dopamine in order to fully appreciate dopamine's role in flexible behavior. Advances in human clinical research, like exome sequencing, are driving experimental hypotheses which will lead to fruitful new research directions, but how do (or should?) these clinical findings inform basic research? Following new information from these techniques, we may begin to develop a fresh understanding of human disease states which will inform novel treatment possibilities. However, we need an operational framework with which to interpret these new findings. Therefore, the purpose of this Research Topic is to integrate what we know of dopamine, the prefrontal cortex and flexible behavior into a clear framework, which will illuminate clear, testable directions for future research.

The Multi-Dimensional Contributions of Prefrontal Circuits to Emotion Regulation during Adulthood and Critical Stages of Development

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ISBN: 9783039217021 9783039217038 Year: Pages: 188 DOI: 10.3390/books978-3-03921-703-8 Language: English
Publisher: MDPI - Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute
Subject: Medicine (General) --- Neurology
Added to DOAB on : 2019-12-09 11:49:16
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The prefrontal cortex (PFC) plays a pivotal role in regulating our emotions. The importance of ventromedial regions in emotion regulation, including the ventral sector of the medial PFC, the medial sector of the orbital cortex and subgenual cingulate cortex, have been recognized for a long time. However, it is increasingly apparent that lateral and dorsal regions of the PFC, as well as neighbouring dorsal anterior cingulate cortex, also play a role. Defining the underlying psychological mechanisms by which these functionally distinct regions modulate emotions and the nature and extent of their interactions is a critical step towards better stratification of the symptoms of mood and anxiety disorders. It is also important to extend our understanding of these prefrontal circuits in development. Specifically, it is important to determine whether they exhibit differential sensitivity to perturbations by known risk factors such as stress and inflammation at distinct developmental epochs. This Special Issue brings together the most recent research in humans and other animals that addresses these important issues, and in doing so, highlights the value of the translational approach.

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